Steve Dicks discovered that he had cancer in 2006. His diagnosis was a shock – he had no symptoms.
“It was a miracle they discovered I even had this cancer,” he remembers. He was admitted to hospital with gallstones. While they were being removed, his surgeon noticed what looked like cancer. She found a nearby specialist to confirm, and when Steve woke up from the operation, he was told that they believed he had neuroendocrine tumours (known as NETs), a rare form of cancer.
“It was very unique. I was told that there were very few people with this particular cancer. I should have had all of these symptoms, but I didn’t even have one,” he says.
Steve went through surgery to remove his tumour, but doctors were unable to entirely remove it safely. He took medication for nine years to manage the symptoms of his cancer until it suddenly became more aggressive.
“My specialist recommended the CONTROL NETs trial and so I became part of that trial. Till today, I am still am part of that trial,” he says. “We’ve had good results because my liver was basically seven-eighths covered with the cancer but now it’s been reduced by 25%. I thank God, the people praying for me, and the doctors who have helped me on this journey of ups and downs over the many years. ”
The CONTROL NETs trial is investigating the best way to control advanced NETs. It studies the effectiveness of combining chemotherapy with radiotherapy treatment, as opposed to the current standard treatment.
Steve and his wife are now taking action in the hope that they can raise awareness of the need for more digestive cancer research. They are hoping to spend three months at the end of the year travelling through Australia and speaking with organisations and community groups about why research is so important.
“There’s not that much out there in the public domain as far as research is concerned,” he says. “My desire would be to have enough research to learn to control and hopefully not even have these cancers, to help the people who have already got cancer, and to hopefully stop it in the future.”
Through speaking to communities and organisations about his experience, Steve hopes that more people will be aware of the need for research for rare cancers like NETs.
“I’m a beneficiary of that research in the sense of, it’s reduced my cancer by 25%, and it’s thanks to individuals and companies that donated to that research in the beginning that I’m here today.”
More information about the CONTROL NETs trial is available here.